Since Burchard is such a small body of water, I decided not to prefish. The fish have no place to go so this gets rid of the need to go find them. I had been to the lake one other time a couple years prior and knew what structure was in it. This gave me a few spots I knew I’d like to hit tourney day, but for the most part I planned to let it come to me when I got the first few bites out of the way.
As we headed out into the brisk wind on Saturday morning, I knew I wanted to get on the windward bank. I headed to the south arm and began working the north bank. Although the wind was coming from the north/northwest I had a few pieces of wood I wanted to work in the calm water of the protected bank. I often start out on a secondary spot early in the morning for a few different reasons. One being when I get to my primary spot I want there to be enough light I can make accurate casts and see everything that is happening. Another one only applies when there’s a lot of chop on the water, which there was on this particular morning. This reason being to throw top-water effectively, as large and cresting waves can deaden the action of your lure.
After messing around with a buzzbait to no avail in the sub 50 degree water I decided to start running the primary bank. The weeds in the lake had already grown 5-6 feet and were very dense. I went down the bank with a Jackall 110 Rerange casting to the bank at a 45 degree angle from my kayak. Especially when I’m in the process of finding the pattern I will stay out from the bank and cast this way to cover all depths. Then, when bites start coming I will hone in on what depth the fish are using to stage or feed.
The first bite of the day was a 21.50 incher that would end up winning big bass of the tournament. She ate the Rerange at the boat when I was sitting in about 10 foot of water. I immediately took note of the depth of water and how high the weeds grew in the water column. Throughout the rest of the day I used this knowledge to make casts in deep enough water so my jerkbait wouldn’t get buried in the weeds every time. I’d keep my boat over 9-10 foot of water, glance down at my Garmin, and fire the Rerange out along the same contour line. This way I knew my bait would stay above the weeds and be productive in covering water on the whole cast. Until about 11:00 o’clock I would fish this way with the exception of when I would see a unique piece of structure or contour.
In this stretch of covering water with the jerkbait I would find sweet spots where multiple fish would be feeding. I would circle back on these areas several times until I ceased to get bites. This is when I would pick up a Rat’L’Trap and rip it through the spot that just produced several fish. Although I wouldn’t end up keeping any of the bites I picked up on this bait, I wanted to include it as it is a really good tip. When a spot seems to be worn out a simple bait change can fire them back up. Often times this is when the big bite comes.
As the day progressed the bite didn’t change, but the depth the fish were positioned in did. I began moving shallower with them, and this brought complications in the way I had to fish my jerkbait. The weeds were still there, but the amount of water over them was obviously a lot less since it wasn’t as deep. There was only 1-2 feet of water to work without the Rerange getting bound up. I started making short casts and working the bait with my rod tip up to keep the jerkbait from diving to its max depth of 5-6 feet. In the last hour and a half I culled three times bringing my total to 88 inches. My card consisted of a 21.50, 17.50, 16.50, 16.25, and 16.25.